“A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step” Chinese philosopher Laozi.
This especially applies to A/B testing where the hardest thing is knowing where to begin. So I hope these tips will give you some ideas of where to start
Calls to Action (CTAs)
The whole point of your site is that you want people to take a specific action. If that’s not the point of your site what is? So a good place to begin testing is your CTAs as they are usually quick and easy to test and can provide some good uplifts.
Click here to Buy? More info? Purchase? Checkout? Add to Cart? Test the CTA text on your buttons remember it needs to be something that applies to your site and answers the user’s question “I want to _________”
Try varying the positioning of your CTA, making key CTAs more prominent than others.
A/B test numerous CTAs per page against one large CTA per page.
Test different CTA hover states, make it really obvious that buttons are clickable
Test different colors, shapes, and sizes for CTA buttons on your website. (rectangles and squares usually work best but who know a triangle CTA could work?)
Content has the biggest chance of converting a maybe to a yes and a no to a maybe. So top-notch content is key not just for SEO but also for CRO.
A/B test if your users are willing to sign-up or provide information to access further content.
Do site visitors crave more information about your company before converting? Test adding or removing “About” content on your homepage and landing pages.
Tone can make a big difference in keeping users on your site. See what your visitors prefer by testing various tones and styles.
Test how content is shown, do users prefer to scroll or click to another page to learn more?
Copy is the best way to get through to your customers and helps users to understand your company and what separates you from your competition.
A/B test if your site visitors prefer shorter versions of headlines, taglines, product descriptions, and other content on your site.
Headlines are their to grab attention and are one of the most read pieces of text on a page. Try variations that are straightforward against ones that are abstract, goofy, or creative.
Test paragraphs or bullet points.
Test the tone of your copy sometimes positive copy works better other times negative copy tone works better
In summary think of the various elements that make up a page and see if an alternative element can achieve a better effect. Then A/B test against the original.
CRO has typically concerned itself with the elements that directly affect conversions such as CTAs, headlines and copy because they tend to have the highest impact for the least amount of effort required to test and implement the change.
UX/Design specialists have championed making websites simple, easy to use and aesthetically pleasing.
However we are seeing where what was traditionally considered UX or CRO is beginning to merge and this is the reason why. if you start off with a badly designed site you can make it better and easier to use and ultimately convert but the time and effort required is much greater than doing this to start with.
So in the past where CRO expertise was brought to bear on sites that had already been built now we are getting a chance to make sure a site is conversion optimised before it is launched.
Much like how we are seeing SEO and Social merging as CRO specialists and UX specialist work closer together we will see more sites that will need less fixes once they are live and users getting sites they can use from day 0.
Will this mean the end of testing? I doubt it for the simple reason there will always be another headline, another way of displaying some piece of information or some other way to create trust or urgency.
I have heard some UX/CRO people are feeling like their areas are being encouraged by the other and I can understand the fear. However I would caution that sometime what is beautiful or simple or easy to use will not always convert the best because sometimes you need to make a user jump through a few hoops or make something obtrusive.
That’s why there is plenty of space at the table for both UX and CRO in the future.
Optimise the business not just the conversion rate
CRO as a discipline is experiencing the same issues that SEO experienced a few years back where the initial remit of the industry was too narrow to achieve the results that were being requested.
If you want to double the revenue your organisation returns from its online presence than merely optimising your web site/app is not going to deliver the results you want.
When people judge your business they are judging more than your site they are judging your organisation as whole. So if the site is great but you take a week to deliver their goods when you said two days that’s a problem. If you deliver a damaged item and it take weeks for a refund/replacement then that s a bigger problem.
Negative publicity will spread much faster and wider than good publicity so it is imperative your customer service is up to scratch. One company that constantly finishes at the top of the table for online customer service is Amazon.
That is no fluke they have invested millions to make it so. They understand that in a market as cutthroat as online retail that your repeat customers are like gold dust and everything should be done to keep them happy even if it means taking a hit and losing money in the short-term.
Now smaller retailers say we need to make money to survive as they don’t have capital to operate at a loss like Amazon does. Well that’s true but you can still afford to break even or perform a small gesture such as a thank you card for the customer in their purchase. Hell if you have some stock you are about to throw away give it free to the user they will appreciate it even if they never use it and might just be enough to win you a repeat order.
In short the customer is king they may not always be right but they have the right to expect excellence from you if not someone else will be more than happy to take their money.